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Policy & Initiatives
At Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), we believe that a robust and fair teacher evaluation system will improve access to high-quality instruction for all students and increase teacher, principal, and school accountability to students and their parents. As New York State is mandating a complete overhaul of teacher evaluation procedures, we are pushing to make sure that the new systems incorporate the concerns of parents and communities and recognize the distinct educational needs of students with disabilities and English Language Learners.
We conducted focus groups with parents, students, teachers and principals; reviewed existing research; and interviewed experts throughout the country. Based on the information we collected, we identified these policy priorities [PDF]. We are urging New York State and New York City to adopt these recommendations in the development and implementation of their new teacher performance appraisal procedures.
The new teacher evaluation system will influence how our teachers are paid, promoted, trained, and fired. Parents and students need to make their voices heard as these important policies are developed. AFC has created fact sheets in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF] to bring parents and community members up to speed so that they can participate in conversations on teacher evaluation in their schools and communities.
On June 18, 2012, AFC released a policy paper entitled Essential Voices: Including Student and Parent Input in Teacher Evaluation [PDF]. This paper makes the case for student and parent input in teacher evaluation in New York City and describes efforts other states and districts are undertaking to incorporate student and/or parent feedback into their own teacher evaluation systems.
On October 31, 2013, we released a follow-up paper entitled Essential Voices, Part II: Engaging Students and Parents in the Implementation of a New Teacher Evaluation System [PDF]. This paper calls on the DOE to include students and parents when putting the new teacher evaluation system into practice by establishing a stakeholder advisory group to provide feedback on the policy implementation process. The paper also provides examples of structures established for this purpose in other cities and states.